Super Time Force
Developer: Capybara Games
Genre: Side-scrolling shooter
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Reason To Cop It: You miss the frenetic tightness of games like Contra and Metal Slug
Reason to Not Cop It: It's easy to get visually overwhelmed
Bottom Line: Capybara doesn't make bad games. Cop immediately.
It was somewhere around 1 am that even my herculean ADD began to give out. That is one of the highest compliments I can give to a game like Super Time Force. Capybara Games has created a run-and-gun side-scrolling shooter that is the visual equivalent to main-lining every last dose of Psilocybin mushrooms at Bonaroo. Again, one of the highest compliments I can think of. Capybara Games are the same people who brought you the phenomenal Super Brothers Sword and Sorcery EP and will be dropping the highly-anticipated Below later this year.
Once again they've proven they don't make crap games.
Super Time Force is one of the sharpest, self-aware indie titles we've gotten our hands in recent memory. The game is spilling over with pop-culture references to institutions like Back to the Future, The Terminator, and every Saturday morning cartoon still colonizing the recesses of your 10-year-old lizard brain. Ham-fisted without ever becoming grating, the humor keeps the pace of the game swimming forward, or backwards if we're to keep with the time-traveling puns. Of which, there are a metric fuck-ton.
The year is 198X, and Dr. Repeatski has discovered the equation for time travel. Exactly one second later, the Earth is transformed into a technicolor wasteland.
Invaded by Dr. Infinity and has army of Blounbots—a disposable army of action figure ready robots—it's up to future Dr. Repeatski and his titular Force of Time to repair the space-time-continuum. One thing you should immediately disregard are all of those hallowed rules of time-traveling. Not changing the past, irreparably damaging the present, and accidentally running into your future self are all happily kicked out the window of your totlally rad Space Bus.
The core mechanic of Super Time Force is, obviously, time travel. Using an ability called Time Out, players are able to rewind time up to 30 times per level. Think of it as a far more frenetic application of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time mechanic. Time Out allows you to recover from a death and replace one of your team members with another who's on stand-by.
This creates an automated secondary support character that replays the action up until the point they died. If the past you manages to not die once real-time begins again, you can absorb that past ghost version of yourself which will now act as a power up. Sound confusing? It's time-travel, what do you expect?
There's a rotating cast of characters available on your Time Force, some of whom are massively effective and others that will barely get any play time.
Ninety seconds and thirty 'lives' is all you're given to complete each level.
Insane? Absolutely, especially when you consider the endless waves of enemies colonizing the entire screen. It's only through a combination of manipulating time and using every character will you even come close to surviving. Those ninety seconds magically stretch out into fifteen minutes as you juggle characters with time travel. Each character has a specialized role that you'll need utilize to succeed.
Aimy McKillin and her sniper rifle can charge a shot to fire through walls, or ricochet single shots to take out hard-to-reach enemies.
Jef Leppard’s (awesome) bazooka is capable of devastating massive obstacles with a single round. Like I mentioned earlier, some characters are all around more effective than others and you're going to find yourself leaning on just an reliable few.
Each character is distinct in personality and polish with enough variety in their skills for the game to, at times, play like a puzzle title. The comparison to titles like Metal Slug and Contra are completely intentional, but Capybara has taken that influence and created a title that is one of the most enjoyable co-op titles the Xbox One has to offer.
The manipulation of time, character, and strategy presents a learning curve that is steep enough to prove challenging, but once mastered, offer some of the most intensely enjoyable nostalgia fuel we've come across.
For a $15 download title, you need to cop this game immediately.